"...You ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him" (2 Corinthians 2:7).
Sorrow can make one look through a dark glass when
he or she is swallowed up in anguish. One struggling with somber thoughts is
unable to "behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). This
particular passage deals with a backslider, but this wise advice to realize and
reassure our love for a troubled one is true for any who need mercy and solace
and restoration to the family or community. We all need reaffirmation at
Love is encouragement: "Let us consider how we may spur one
another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24). It is possible to look
beyond what people are and have done, and love them for what they can be. Love
then becomes redemptive and rejuvenating. It is said that Michelangelo found a
piece of rough marble that had been cast aside as useless. He was told that no
good thing could come from it, but Michelangelo said, "It is not useless. Send
it to my studio. There is an angel imprisoned within it, and I must set it
free." We can help release the distressed caught in the hard marble of life
through showing them God's forgiveness and love.
Jesus went about freeing
angels from within seemingly useless or sinful human beings finally released by
His love: Zacchaeus the tax collector, Mary Magdalene, Saul to become Paul, the
thief on the cross, the woman of Samaria and us! Jesus sees what we can be and
He treats us accordingly. And He asks that we do the same for others: treat them
as they can be, through His transforming grace.